After years of speculation, gaming industry heavyweight Nintendo has officially announced its first gaming console in four years, the new Nintendo Switch.
Available in March, 2017, the much-anticipated Switch is a hybrid console that combines living room and handheld mobile gaming in one, and the successor to the Nintendo Wii U – a console that, in anyone’s books, sold poorly for the company that brought us such iconic games and figures as Donkey Kong, Mario and Zelda.
Featuring a leave-at-home dock with a removable, handheld tablet that you can take with you, Switch appears to promise the return of social gaming – transporting us from solo, multiplayer games played at home and back to a time when we would all gather around a console and TV in the same room.
Considering the company’s legacy in the handheld gaming market, Switch could well be the smartest move Nintendo has made in a decade.
What to expect
Crossing the divide between conventional gaming console and handheld tablet, the Switch is able to transform into a variety of game machines by way of controller paddles that attach to the sides of the tablet.
When at home, the tablet stays neatly in the dock and connected to a HD TV, with a dedicated controller – which appears to be a nod to the N64 controller of yore – used to interact with games and apps.
When the need arises to go mobile, the tablet can be lifted from the dock and paddles attach either side to create an all-in-one handheld gaming system, all while playing the same game.
Not only that, but the new Switch can also be connected with other tablets nearby, creating a network of gaming devices that you can use to play and compete with friends. Alternatively, add an extra controller and multiple players can play on the one device.
Ultimately, Nintendo has covered a number of bases by creating a console that is flexible enough to offer a HD solo gaming experience at home, or take on the road to enjoy the ease of handheld gaming.
The return of the king
There can be no bones about it; Nintendo is top dog when it comes to handheld gaming.
Chances are, if you’re reading this, you’re one of 118 million-odd people who owned a Game Boy – the world’s most popular handheld gaming console.
Released in 1989, Game Boy quickly took the world by storm, offering hundreds of portable games in your pocket, some of which grew into gaming legend.
Games like Tetris, the entire Pokémon series and various Mario, Donkey Kong and The Legend of Zelda games punctuated the lives of many; be it in a bedroom, on a bus or train to school, or during a work lunch break.
Following this, Nintendo made a foray into home consoles, with the launch of the Wii console in 2006 – a period when Microsoft and Sony were locked in a battle for domination of home console gaming with the Xbox and PlayStation, respectively.
With a focus on game franchises that encouraged social gaming and family friendly fun, Wii found a place in the market between the two giants. Here was a console that allowed you to literally ten-pin bowl with your friends and family in your lounge room – something neither Xbox or PlayStation offered.
However, Nintendo’s next console, the Wii U, didn’t fair nearly as well.
Watch a trailer for the Nintendo Switch below:
A semi-portable console, the Wii U allowed gamers to connect as usual to their TV, then use the independent handheld tablet to not only interact with games, but also play remotely.
For a variety of reasons, the world wasn’t ready for Nintendo’s tablet gaming solution and the Wii U saw mediocre sales and expansion, resulting in a lack of games and overall decline in popularity.
With the announcement of this new hybrid console, Nintendo is clearly placing all its chips on the attraction and flexibility of a portable system again.
Whether the company has learned from the many lessons offered from the Wii U is yet to be seen.
You can bet that Mario and Zelda – two characters that made bank for the company – will figure heavily in the launch roster of games for Switch.
Stay tuned to The New Daily for more news on Nintendo Switch as details are announced.